A controversial bus gate installed in Aberdeen to help with physical distancing could be removed by council chiefs.
Traders, residents and confused motorists have been in uproar since the imposition of a temporary one-way system in Rosemount Place, which was created to allow space for people to pass in the street.
Planners, as well as the council’s chief officer for capital John Wilson, yesterday walked around the area with a scrum of irate locals.
Previously, roads engineers said the change, paid for by the £1.76 million Spaces For People grant funding from the Scottish Government, was needed to make room at the narrow pavement outside Sainsbury’s supermarket.
The pinch-point outside the shop, which attracts queues, has meant a ban on buses going up Rosemount Place from Mount Street to Esslemont Avenue – although First Aberdeen has maintained access to the upper half of the street in a contraflow lane.
To manage access, the council installed a bus gate at the top of Esslemont Avenue- which has been the cause of confusion for motorists who have ended up driving up the street the wrong way.
After hearing “the strength of feeling” about that particular council intervention, Mr Wilson told the crowd: “We are considering whether we can remove the bus gate.
“We are weighing up the pros and cons about that off the back of your concerns.”
He also committed to look at changing the direction of the whole one-way system and examine the potential for reintroducing buses between Mount Street and Esslemont Avenue.
Business owners, concerned the ongoing confusion might force them to close their doors and disillusioned with the perceived lack of consultation so far, said they “would believe it when they see it”.
Retailers complained they were not “on a level playing field” with bars and cafes allowed to take up pavement space outside their premises with tables and chairs.
Seizing an opportunity to put their views to the officials behind the radical change, dozens of retailers and residents turned out.
Many raised the issue of speeding through the one-way system, with one resident comparing the popular shopping street to Knockhill racetrack.
Residents from Belgrave Terrace and Belvidere Crescent complained of cars turning into their streets to escape the one-way systems, putting residents at risk as they sped away to cover up their error.
Roads engineer Ross Stevenson said it could still be another two weeks before a 20mph limit is imposed in the area – despite colleagues previously revealing it should have been in since the middle of last month.
Brian Niven, who spotted the council officers walking past his hair salon, rushed out to give them his views.
Oxygen overlooks the bus gate, and the start of the shared bus and bike lane.
“There have been so many close calls and it’s a head-on smash waiting to happen – you can hear the screeching of tyres of near things,” he told the P&J.
“I have had clients jumping up and screaming in the salon as it’s been so close to an accident.”